BRIGHAM CITY — When President Boyd K. Packer broke ground for a new temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here two years ago, he promised to return for the temple's dedication.
"When we look back at the memories here and the places we lived and grew up, it really is home and the center place for our family," he had said during the groundbreaking ceremony. "It is a very sacred event. Temples are being built all around the world. I am getting a little rickety, but I feel confident in promising you that I will be back for the dedication of the temple here in Brigham City."
The president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles kept that promise Sunday. On the same site where he once attended grade school, President Packer dedicated the Brigham City Utah Temple.
The 36,000-square-foot temple — which can be seen from across Box Elder County — is the LDS Church's 139th worldwide and the 14th in Utah.
"I didn't propose there be a temple in Brigham City," President Packer told the Church News. "The Brethren brought that up. My contribution was not objecting. The same was true of the dedication; I didn't assign myself to that. I am glad I was assigned to it. I am grateful."
A small crowd gathered outside the temple Sunday morning for a cornerstone ceremony, marking the completion of the building prior to its dedication.
During the event, President Packer applied mortar to seal the cornerstone box, which contains items significant to the temple. President Packer then asked his wife, Sister Donna S. Packer; Elder L. Tom Perry of the Twelve and his wife, Sister Barbara Perry; Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Twelve and his wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson, and other general authorities and their wives to do the same.
"They have done a nice job, president, in filling that in," Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and executive director of the church's temple department told President Packer while examining the cornerstone.
A choir, made up LDS Church members from 23 wards in eight stakes, also performed at the outdoor ceremony.
Brad Archibald of Tremonton participated in the cornerstone choir, calling the ceremony "a choice experience."
"To see President Packer and to be reminded of his lifelong service and to have watched the temple being built and to see it in its completion has been an absolute joy," he said.
After the church leaders re-entered the temple, people outside were invited to place mortar.
Lane Petersen waited in line and placed mortar on the temple's cornerstone. "It is not often you get to be part of something of this magnitude in this valley," he said. "I wanted to be part of it."
Angela Risenmay of Perry volunteered as an usher and brought her 8-year-old daughter, Brinlee, to the event. "I wanted to be as close to the temple and experience as much of it as I could," she said.
Noting that the temple is located between two other temples, both 30 minutes away, Risenmay didn't even imagine Brigham City would one day have a temple. Still she is confident the edifice will be busy. "The people in this area will fill this temple," she said.
Jimmy Petersen grew up 11/2 blocks from the temple and, like President Packer, attended Central School on the site.
Speaking of "community unity," he said the temple is the result of the dedication of Latter-day Saints in Box Elder County. "There are a lot of fine folks here in the valley," he said.
The Brigham City Temple will serve some 40,000 Latter-day Saints from 13 stakes in northern Utah and southeastern Idaho.
Ronald L. Frandsen, president of the Brigham City Utah Box Elder Stake and local temple committee chairman, said because of Brigham City's central location between the Ogden Temple (which is currently being renovated) and the Logan Temple, most people never expected a temple in the city.
Still, he said, interest in the building has been overwhelming — and not just from members of the temple district. During the temple open house Aug. 18 through Sept. 15, some 404,350 people — 10 times the members of the temple district — visited the site.
He noted that during the dedication prayer for the groundbreaking service, President Packer said the temple would be a beacon to the community. Now that the temple is completed, he said he is amazed — but not surprised — that the temple can be seen across the valley.
He also loves the temple's location, right in the heart of Brigham City. The temple, President Frandsen said, "is placed right in the middle of garden variety Latter-day Saints that are just trying to be a little better each day, that never dreamed they would be in walking distance of the temple each day. People just like you and me."
Brigham City Temple facts:
Announced: Oct. 3, 2009
Groundbreaking: July 31, 2010
Public openhouse: Attended by 404,352 people
Dedication: Sept. 23, 2012, by President Boyd K. Packer
Location: 250 S. Main
Property: 3.1 acres
Building size: 36,000 square feet
Building height: Approximately 165 feet to the top of Angel Moroni statue
Angel Moroni Statue: 12 feet tall
Architects: FFKR Architects
Contractor: Big-D Construction
Temple district: Will serve 40,000 Latter-day Saints from 13 stakes in northern Utah and southeastern Idaho
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